West Virginia Basketball: Mountaineers looking to snap losing streak


No. 21 West Virginia has been on the short end of the stick as of late. The Mountaineers have lost two games in a row, losing by double-digits both times. Now WVU will turn its attention to Kansas State as they hope to steer the ship straight.

Jan 27, 2015; Manhattan, KS, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers forward Devin Williams (5) is guarded by Kansas State Wildcats forward Thomas Gipson (42) during the Mountaineers

West Virginia (18-5, 6-4) dropped six spots in the latest AP Poll following their losses to Oklahoma and Baylor and they now sit in fourth place amongst the Big 12 competition.

This was the first time all season the Mountaineers lost consecutive games. Both losses were ugly and head coach Bob Huggins cited several different reasons for the blowouts including calling out his forwards for their turnovers versus Baylor.

“I think most of our turnovers were from our ‘bigs,’” said Huggins following Saturday’s game. “We don’t work on dribbling in the post. We don’t ever say catch it, dribble it and put your head down. I wouldn’t tell a fifth grade team that. But, they did, so consequently there’s a huge disparity.”

Devin Williams is the team’s most consistent forward and is the team’s second leading scorer. Williams is averaging 11.8 points per game. Juwan Staten continues to lead the pack, averaging 14.4 points per contest.

Another reason for the Mountaineers recent struggle is their poor shooting. On averaging, the team is only shooing 41 percent from the floor. In the games against the Sooners and Bears, both Oklahoma and Baylor shot above 50 percent while the Mountaineers were in the low 30 percentile.

Perhaps the Sooners and Bears’ high shooting percentage could be chalked up to West Virginia’s pressure not being up to par. The Mountaineers’ defense has been the focal point of the team, but as of late it hasn’t been effective. Huggins thinks that his team’s effort has been lacking.

“It worries me, because I don’t think our effort is what it was,” he said following the Baylor game. “We’re not getting where we’re supposed to get. We’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Kansas State (12-12, 5-6) is riding a four-game losing streak. The Wildcats’ most-recent loss came at the hands of Texas, the Longhorns slipped past Kansas State, 61-57.

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The Wildcats’ are led by Marcus Foster who is averaging 14 points per game. Behind him is Thomas Gipson who’s averaging just over 11 points per contest.

Kansas State’s overall shooting percentage, 41.2 percent, is about even with West Virginia. The Wildcats’ are no easy task, though — no Big 12 team is.

This will be the second meeting between West Virginia and Kansas State. The Mountaineers got the best of the Wildcats, 65-59 in a what Kansas State’s head coach Bruce Weber described as a “fight.”

In the two’s last meeting Tarik Phillip led the Mountaineers in scoring with 12, while Staten chipped in with 11 points. For the Wildcats, Foster muscled up 15 points to lead Kansas State.

It what could be another “fight” the Mountaineers and Wildcats will both look to end their losing streaks. West Virginia and Kansas State will tipoff tonight at 7:00 p.m. and the game will broadcast live on ESPNU.